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Arabic 101
Section 1: The Alphabet
Lesson 1: -
This being the first lesson, I will lay out how the alphabet lessons will be organized. Each
lesson will focus on a number of letters of the alphabet. The lessons will cover the phonetics of
each letter, how to write it, and how it looks when used in a word. At the end of each lesson, I
will either make up words or use real words and use the letters we have covered. Practice writing
and saying these words.

Before we get started I'd also like to say that the only way you will get anything out of this
course is if you study and practice. I'll do my best to help you, but the onus lies with you and
how much work you are willing to put into this. This course is not designed to make you fluent
in the language, but my hope is that it will get you comfortable enough to want to pursue a more
advanced method of learning. Since the next six lessons are on the alphabet, this is the best time
to practice. This is by far the easiest part of learning a language, so take it to heart and really
work at it. If you can write the characters, read them, and pronounce them efficiently, it will
make it much easier to learn the language later on.
I understand it is very hard to learn how to pronounce something you haven't necessarily
heard before, so I will do my best to try and find some resources for pronunciation. For writing
as well, I have some resources that might help you, but again, the responsibility lies with you to
Let's get started!

A few things about the Arabic alphabet:
1.Each letter by itself has a certain shape, much like the Latin alphabet. However, unlike
the Latin alphabet, Arabic letters sometimes change shape and look very different when
connected with one another.
2. Some letters do not connect.
3.The shape of the letters is dependent on their placement in the word. I apologize if this
sounds confusing, but I promise you will get the hang of it after the end of this lesson.
4.Each letter has an isolated (by itself), initial (it begins the word), medial (it is within
the word), and a final(it is the last letter of a word) shape.
5. There are no "upper-case" characters.
6. Arabic is read (and written) right to left (lefties rejoice!).

Throughout this section, I will be presenting the letters by showing how they look in
various parts of a word. I will begin with the isolated shape on the right in order to try and
acclimate you to how Arabic is read and written. It will look something like this:

Note: Just pay attention to where the letter is and what it looks like, not the word


aa (alif)
The letter(lif) produces a long "aa" sound when used in a word.
Phonetics: Sounds like "ahh" in "apple."
How to write it:

-The first letter of the Arabic alphabet is a long vowel.
- In both the initial and medial stages, alif does not connect to what follows. Always pick your
pen up off the paper after writing alif.
- The letter that follows alif is either in its initial shape (if they have letters following them) or in
their isolated shape (if they are the last letter of the word)

The letter (baa) produces a b sound when used in a word.
Phonetics: Sounds like bat, back, cub.
How to write it:

-Baa is a connecting letter. It connects to any letter following it in the same word.

The letter (taa) produces a t sound when used in a word.
Phonetics: Sounds like bottle, teeth, cut.
How to write it:

-taa is also a connecting word, just like baa.


The letter thaa produces a soft th sound when used in a word.
Phonetics: Sounds like fourth, three, third.
How to write it:
-Thaa is a
connecting word, like baa and taa


Now that we've got four letters to work with, let's put them together and sound out some words.
(For this exercise we are focusing on putting together the letters to make words, not on
vocabulary. Most of these are not real words.)
I encourage you to come up with your own words first by writing them, then by saying them
aloud as best you can. At the moment, the only vowel we have is alif, so your options are limited,
but even writing nonsensical words without alif will help your writing skills.